<Recycling a functionless industrial facilities>
Paju Camp Greaves, Changes in Modern and Contemporary Military base Heritage
By Hojin, Choi
Peace in the Korean peninsula slowly has captured the world’s attention. Korea, the only divided country in the world, still has a military tension that creates a unique heritage. Lots of our cultural heritage had been either destroyed or damaged when Korea went through these events: opening a port to foreign trades, the Japanese colonial period, and the restoration of independence. The outbreak of the Korean 6.25 war in 1950 ended when both South and North Korea decided to call a truce in 1953. After the ceasefire, South and North Koreans lived under the different ideology of the government for over 60 years. During these 60 years, heritage buildings left in South Korea and heritage buildings left in North Korea produced distinct architectural styles. Cities and architectures were hugely affected by the conflict of the political ideology and the world powers during the Korean War.
After the Korean war, with the help of Foreign Aid and U.S Army Garrison (USAG), the southern part of the Korean Peninsula established unique Modern and Contemporary Architecture. While South Korea was going through several redevelopments, the American military stations were creating unique areas that captured the American Military and their own architectural culture like an isolated island in Korea. The 8th United States Army bases across the country were either discarded or downsized as the bases were all transferred to Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, a new decided army base. As the bases moved, there were no clear alternatives on how to utilize the base closure.
Adjusting the Camp Market in the Bupyeong to History Culture Park is under discussion. When Yongsan Military Camp became a National Park, citizens requested for bus tour program, which allowed tourists to go around the camp. This bus tour program is currently running. When Kooni Shooting Range was designated as a Gyeonggi Province Superior Asset Building No. 1, Gyeonggi Province citizens have been devising a utilization plan for this district in Hwaseong. On June 5, 2019, ｢Goseong DMZ Guard Post (GP)｣ was nominated as Registered Cultural Heritage 752. Cultural Heritage 752 ｢Goseong DMZ Guard Post (GP)｣ is both historical and symbolic as this is the first GP set up in South Korea after the Military Armistice Agreement in 1953 and is around 580 meters away from where the nearest North Korean GP was. This facility is very useful in a way to show a peaceful relationship between North and South Korea after the Korean war. To use the Goseong DMZ Guard Post on Panmunjeom Declaration on April 27, 2018, both Koreas went through the ‘September 19 inter-Korean Comprehensive Military Agreement (CMA)’, which allowed South Korea to keep the GP from shutting down.
Camp Greaves in Paju was the first place to utilize the military base into a public installation. Still, this area is not a flexible place, but by going through designated procedures, Camp Greaves became a place where people can stay. Camp Greaves is located in 137, Jeoksipja-ro, Gunnae-myeon, Paju-si, Gyeong gi-do. The camp was named as ‘the Red Cross’ because there was the Office for The South-North Dialogue on the other side of the camp. The main purpose of traditionally built government offices was to provide a place for South and North Korea to communicate. As the tension between the South and North Korea reduced, these government offices are losing their function. It seems hard to approach the Inter-Korean Liaison Office when looking at it from the Camp Greaves’ barbed-wire fence. In the future, these amenities will turn into important historical sites.
Camp Greaves is located 1.2km away from the north of the Imjingang Tourist site. Even if the distance is short, to enter the restricted area for civilians, people have to cross the Imjingang river, then the National Route 1, where they will face the checkpoint. Unlike what we see in the broadcast, it is not easy to enter the Kaesong. Groups of tourists were able to visit the Kaesong through the diverse DMZ security tourism programs. In Camp Greaves, there are several activities that tourists could request, such as experiencing lodging and visiting Dorasan Observatory and Panmunjeom.
After the Korean War Armistice Agreement (Armistice Agreement signed on July 27, 1953: formally stopped the 6.25 Korean War), for over 50 years, 2nd Infantry Division 506th Infantry Regiment was stationed in southern boundary line DMZ, which is only 2 km away from the Camp Greaves. The U.S. 2nd Infantry Division withdrew in 2004 and in August 2007, the authority of the Camp Greaves went back to the Korean Government. Through this incidence, Gyeonggi Tourism Organization in Paju, Gyeonggi-do requested National military authorities if it is possible to let out the distinct characteristics of a divided country by turning the old military camps into facilities where visitors could experience the peace, security, and ecology. In 2013, National Military Authorities agreed with citizens’ requests for such facilities.
Camp Greaves is located about 4.4 km away from the ceasefire line and about 8 km away from the Panmunjeom. Located near the border area, the Northern Gyeonggi Province is slow in urban development. Therefore, this area offers a variety of scenery. Since Camp Greaves is the oldest U.S. military base after the ceasefire agreement, Camp Greaves contains diverse U.S. military construction styles from different generations, between 1950 and 1990. As the troop is located on the frontline, several army units near the camp are still being used. Before utilizing it as an exhibition hall, the huge, concrete shot locker was constantly secured until the U.S. troops withdrew.
Military facilities can be only seen within the territory because the outskirts of a camp are surrounded by a barbed-wire fence. Quonset Huts, the early look of military bases, are left all over. As the U.S. withdrew troops, they took all the building’s number plates with them. Buildings, maintenance stores, and convenient facilities constructed by piling up the bricks still remain. Unique interior style and construction materials could be observed. Two to three-floor barracks, originally built for soldiers’ living area, went through building remodeling in order to provide visitors a night in the camp experience.
Partial parts of the Quonset Hut is used for the exhibition area, which shows U.S. Military officers’ living area, military supplies, and old photos. The exhibition allows visitors to have a glance at American soldiers’ life. There are still numerous facilities that are not reconditioned. When considering the symbolism of the border area, these facilities should be preserved as similar to the original form. As a currently divided country, Camp Greaves cannot be just recognized as a place where visitors can have a unique experience, but a place that constantly reflects Modern-day Korean history. This camp is running under harsh conditions and trying its best to operate this amenity. Therefore, citizens should never forget the pity of the War by visiting Camp Greaves.
_Magazine Hanok N.22